Court extends bail of underage girl’s alleged husband, brother-in-law

Our Correspondent
Wednesday, Aug 24, 2022

karachi: A sessions court has extended until August 26 the interim pre-arrest bail granted to the purported husband and brother-in-law of a teenage girl in a case pertaining to her alleged abduction from Karachi and illegal underage marriage in Punjab.

Zaheer Ahmed faces charges of kidnapping the underage girl from Karachi and contracting the illegal child marriage with her in Lahore. His brother Shabbir, along with their mother and over a dozen other relatives, as well as cleric Hafiz Ghulam Mustafa who solemnised the marriage, and two eyewitnesses have been accused of aiding and abetting the alleged crime. When the matter came up for hearing before the court, the suspects’ lawyer requested the jugde to extend his clients’ bail and fix the next hearing after August 31 for arguments on confirmation or otherwise of their bail.

Jibran Nasir, counsel for the complainant, opposed the defence counsel’s plea, saying they cannot be given such a concession for a long time.

The court, however, extended the interim bail of Ahmed and his brother Shabbir until Aug 26 with a direction to ensure their appearance at the next hearing. On July 21, both were granted interim bail subject to the submission of a surety of Rs100,000 each. The IO had last week filed the final charge sheet in the case. He recommended the court to try the suspects for offences punishable under sections 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of fourteen), 363 (kidnapping), 368 (wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement, kidnapped or abducted person) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) read with sections 3 and 4 of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2013 and section 3(ii) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Person Act, 2018.

He said the girl’s purported husband, Zaheer Ahmed, also committed the offence as defined under Section 375(v) (rape with or without her consent when she is under 16 years of age) of the PPC.